Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Plough Inn, Wolvercote Green

The Trout Inn is the 'almost equally attractive alternative' to the Plough Inn, according to my guide book. My boyfriend and I are walking along the river from Oxford and find this statement hard to believe. The Trout is a picture postcard example of an English country pub. Umbrella shaded tables are dotted around a garden next to the rushing water, peacocks strut in the hazy sunshine. But, it looks busy and we don't mind walking on for another fifteen minutes. Besides, the book also promises that The Plough serves large portions and we are hungry.

From the outside we are certainly disappointed. It's a rather generic building which could possibly have river views if the grass and bank were not so overgrown. Inside we can see the appeal a little more - it's large but could be very cosy in winter. The menu is fairly varied too and we select from the hot sandwich section, although main meals such as the full English and fish and chips do look tempting. We opt for a goats cheese, red onion and tomato panini and a chicken, bacon and mayonnaise rustic roll. Both are served with chips. Unfortunately, the service is terrible - no smile, no please or thank you and three sets of customers are forced to wait for one card machine whilst a woman whose card has been declined heads off to find another, with no apology. Eventually we go to sit down. There are quite a few tables outside on a patio area and we select one of the only remaining, which is under a structure named 'The Shed End'. 'At least they're Chelsea fans' my boyfriend comments.

The food arrives very quickly, a little too quickly to be fresh I think and the portions are very meagre. A handful of chips sit next to a panini that is greasy and a bit limp and a roll that is slightly stale. It all tastes ok but is nowhere near the standard of sandwich we would throw together at home for a third of the price. A blackcurrant cordial and lemonade and lime are so heavy on the fruit aspects that they are too strong to drink. We consider asking for them to be diluted but we can't be bothered: sometimes it's better to cut your losses and chalk it up to experience. Next time we'll certainly try The Trout.

Sandwich, chips and a soft drink: £6.75 per head

Value: 4/10

Service: 3/10

Atmosphere: 3/10

Food: 4/10

SCORE: 14/40

The Plough Inn, Wolvercote Green, Oxfordshire, OX2 8BD. Tel: 01865 556969.

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